Unlike using an Assistive Hearing Device, which requires you to turn off your hearing aid, a Hearing Loop functions as a type of sound system that works with your aid to create an uninterrupted stream of clear sound “It’s the equivalent of a wheelchair ramp for people who suffer from hearing loss,” says David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College. The Loop itself provides a wireless, magnetic signal that is picked up by the wearer’s hearing aid when it’s set to its “T” or Telecoil setting.
How Does This System Work?
Simply put, a Hearing Loop is a wire that circles the perimeter of any room (large or small) which connects to a pre-existing sound system and transmits the sound electromagnetically. This sound is then picked up by the telecoil in your hearing aid or cochlear implant, functioning as your own personal loudspeaker and customized to your hearing loss specifications.
How Does The Loop System Improve The Quality Of Sound?
Extraneous room sounds and echoes are basically eliminated, due to the direct wireless connection to the audio signal carried in the loop wire from the audio source. Unlike using a headset or other assistive device, Loop Systems provide greater sound clarity and speech intelligibility, making your listening experience a whole lot more enjoyable and relaxing.
It’s a small copper coil found in most hearing aids and built into cochlear implant processors, activated by a “T” switch. This technology was originally used to boost magnetic signals from the telephone handset and all landline (and some cellphones) are designated by law to be used with a Telecoil.
Can I install A Loop System In My Home?
Absolutely! The wire loop can be installed under carpet, behind baseboards, in ceiling – wherever’s convenient for you.
The Sertoma Club, a service organization, saw a need for the hearing impaired in St. Joseph. Hearing aids work pretty well for people in close conversations in small groups, but where they really struggle is in large groups and public forums.
There is a technology out there that addresses this problem called audio loops. You permanently install the system in the physical area that you want “looped”. People who have hearing aids that have a telecoil function, when in the looped area, can flip a switch on their hearing aids and get synced to the audio loop.So the sound that comes through their hearing aids, when activated, becomes the sound that is played over the facility’s speakers that everyone else in the audience is listening to. It’s a way for people to have their own, individual connection to the facility’s sound system through their very own hearing aids.
The Sertoma Club saw this as an opportunity to help people with hearing impairments in St. Joseph, Missouri. A few years ago, the Sertoma Club paid to have an audio loop installed in the theater room at the East Hills branch of the St. Joe Public Library
And in Fall of 2016, the Sertoma Club partnered with the Missouri theater in St. Joe to install an audio loop in the theater, so that people with hearing impairment can still enjoy the great productions that come through St. Joe.
Sertoma Club realized that just having the infrastructure wasn’t enough, as the technology of audio loops is not well known, and the systems weren’t being fully utilized. Zachary Treat, a medical student from the University of Missouri-Columbia, in St Joe completing clinical rotations was looking for a way to get more involved in the community.
He met with Dave Neumann, from the Hearing Connection, through his wife, Janice, who works at Mosaic. They wanted to put on an event to address this problem, therefore March 6, 4-5:30 pm at the Missouri Theater, retired audiologist Juliette Sterkens will be speaking with the purpose of Increasing awareness of the technology and where people can go to use it. People in attendance will have the opportunity to try out the system and hear what it’s like to listen through an audio loop. As she will also help people with hearing impairment know how to talk to their providers about making sure their hearing aids can access these loops.